(Baltimore sun photo/Gene…)
B in Bolton Hill has a new executive chef and a truckload of ramps.
The new chef is Chris Clune, who came on board March 1 but took over the kitchen for real on Wednesday night. For now, Clune will be happily executing the menu put in place by departing executive chef Jamie Forsythe, who stayed around for the transition.
But come May, when the spring bounty really arrives, diners will be start to see more of Clune's own personality.
Clune grew up in the business — his mother owned restaurants in Oxford and Barnaget Light, N.J. Asked to describe his cooking philosophy, he invokes the French chef Joel Robuchon.
"It's the whole cooking with the five senses thing," says Clune, who considers his trips to L'Atelier de Joel Rubuchon in New York City visits to the "food altar."
"I love letting the food speak for itself," Clune says. "I try to cook as cleanly and methodically and thoughtfully as possible, where each ingredient is held up on its the little pedestal. That's what I hope to bring here."
For now, Clune is settling in, making a few tweaks and going to town on the 30 pounds of ramps that B just got in. Ramps, a garlicky member of the onion family also known as the wild leek, have become something of a spring darling in chef's circles.
Clune is sauteing ramps as a side for a rockfish special, pickling ramps to serve with a radish salad and cured meats and pounding ramps into a pesto for a turnip ravioli.
Ramps are one thing, but morels, the other sign that spring has come, is another, and Clune can hardly wait for them. "Once morels come in," Clune says, "I'm going to lose my mind."